Q. Are the fish safe to eat?
A. Fish are nutritious, high in protein and good to eat. Most Ohio
sport fish are of high quality but some fish may contain low levels of
chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mercury and lead from
certain waters within the state. Choose smaller fish rather than lager
fish for consumption. Smaller fish within a species tend to have fewer
contaminates than larger fish and usually taste a lot better. Properly
trimming and cooking your fish will help reduce health risks associated
with eating fish.
Women of child-bearing age and young children (age 6 and under) should
limit their consumption of fish (any species) from any water body in
Ohio to one meal a week. For additional, more detailed information and
to stay current on Ohio sport fish consumption advisories, periodically
check the web site Ohio Sport Fish Consumption Advisory or contact the Ohio Department of Health or Ohio EPA for the latest information.
Q. What are macroinvertebrates?
A. Benthic macroinvertebrates are common inhabitants of lakes and
streams where they are important in moving energy through food webs.
The term "benthic" means "bottom-living" and indicates that these
organisms usually inhabit bottom substrates for at least part of their
life cycles; the prefix "macro" indicates that these organisms are
large enough to be retained by mesh sizes of approximately 200-500 Ám
In freshwater, macroinvertebrates include insects, mollusks (clams,
snails and mussels), annelids (worms and leeches), and others. In most
freshwater, the larval insects dominate the macroinvertebrate
community. Data obtained by collecting and identifying these organisms
provide an excellent tool for assessing water quality in streams and
Q. How do I know when it's safe to go swimming in Lake Erie?
A. During the summer months, waters at public beaches along the
Lake Erie shoreline are sampled and analyzed for E. coli, a type of
bacteria that is typically found in the intestinal tracts of
warm-blooded animals, including humans. When E. coli is found in water
at elevated levels, it indicates that people swimming in the water face
an increased risk from disease-causing microorganisms. Resulting
illnesses can include gastroenteritis, skin irritations, and
respiratory, eye, ear and nose infections. When the amount of E. coli
in the water exceeds acceptable levels established by the State,
beaches are posted with signs that advise against swimming.
Such contamination of a water body can be the result of a number of
factors including overflowing sewage and storm water runoff that
contains animal and bird waste. Therefore, elevated E. coli levels will
often follow a significant wet weather vent. Some urban areas, such as
Cleveland and its closest suburbs, have sewer systecomes
hydraulically overloaded during a wet weather event, these "combined"
sewers are designed to overflow to a stream or a lake without the
treatment that sewage typically receives during drier weather
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has worked to minimize
combined sewer overflows and will invest approximately $580 million in
capital projects, including $174.7 million for the reduction of CSOs in
the region, over the next five years. These upgrades will help further
control or eliminate sources of pollution in Cleveland area waters.